Looking at the Warriors’ Playoff Picture - 5/15/21
Warriors vs. Grizzlies, Lakers and Trail Blazers Games Will Determine Play-In Tournament Seeding
Where will the Warriors end the regular season in the Western Conference standings and place in the Play-In Tournament? Who will the Dubs face in Game 1 of the tournament? Which Western Conference team avoids the tournament altogether while another falls to the No. 7 spot and the top seed of the play-in?
All of these questions will be answered on Sunday.
The playoff picture has been made clear for the Warriors and Dub Nation: the final outcome of Sunday’s matinee against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies will dictate where the Dubs finish in the West and what seed they have headed into the Play-In Tournament.
Meanwhile, the fight for the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds will not be decided until later Sunday evening in a pair 6 p.m. games.
Study up on what to watch and what lies ahead for the Warriors below.
Where the Warriors Stand
At 38-33 each, the Warriors and Grizzlies are in a dead tie for the No. 8 spot heading into Sunday’s game. The winner will come ahead with the coveted 8th seed while the losing team takes 9th.
Why does this matter?
To put it simply: whichever team has the higher seed needs to win just one game out of a maximum of two for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. The 9th seed will have more work ahead of them, needing two wins to enter the playoffs while one loss will eliminate them from contention. The 7th and 10th seeds are the other teams that will be in the Play-In, which runs from May 18 to May 21.
While a loss by the San Antonio Spurs on May 12 ensured the Warriors would finish no lower than 9th, the Spurs have also locked up the No. 10 seed.
The No. 7 and top spot in the tournament is still up for grabs.
Currently in 7th is the Los Angeles Lakers. A 122-115 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday morning makes the fight for the No. 6 and No. 7 come down to Sunday. If the Lakers defeat the New Orleans Pelicans in their final game, and the Portland Trail Blazers lose to the Denver Nuggets, the Blazers fall to the No. 7 spot and into the Play-In Tournament.
The Lakers and Trail Blazers tip off their games Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Dallas Mavericks had a chance of entering into the mix, but a Loka Doncic triple-double Friday night led they to a 114-110 win over the Toronto Raptors and secured their spot in the top six and out of the Play-In Tournament.
Play-In Tournament Outlook
Get ready for some fun, Dub Nation! There’s a lot of ways this could go heading into Sunday’s game. Here is all of the Tournament scenarios:
If Warriors win, Lakers win, and Trail Blazers lose on Sunday:
Game 1: Warriors at Trail Blazers
Game 2: Spurs at Grizzlies
Game 3: Spurs/Grizzlies winner at Warriors/Trail Blazers loser
If Warriors win, Lakers lose and/or Trail Blazers win on Sunday:
Game 1: Warriors at Lakers
Game 2: Spurs at Grizzlies
Game 3: Spurs/Grizzlies winner at Warriors/Lakers loser
If Warriors lose, Lakers win, and Trail Blazers lose on Sunday:
Game 1: Grizzlies at Trail Blazers
Game 2: Spurs at Warriors
Game 3: Spurs/Warriors winner at Grizzlies/Trail Blazers loser
If Warriors lose, Lakers lose and/or Trail Blazers win on Sunday:
Game 1: Grizzlies at Lakers
Game 2: Spurs at Warriors
Game 3: Spurs/Warriors winner at Grizzlies/Lakers loser
* In all scenarios: winner of Game 1 automatically enters the NBA Playoffs as No. 7 seed, winner of Game 2 advances in Play-In and loser is eliminated, and winner of Game 3 claims No. 8 seed in the Playoffs.
Looking at the Dubs’ Matchups
Season Series: tied 1-1
Across all scenarios of the Play-In Tournament, there is a chance the Warriors and Grizzlies matchup one more time after Sunday’s season-defining game. Both teams go into Sunday as winners of five straight, the longest active streaks in the NBA, making both Sunday and a potential rematch all the more interesting. While the season series sits at 1-1, Stephen Curry did not play in either of the two games earlier this season.
Los Angeles Lakers
Season Series: LAL leads 2-1
The Dubs have lost their last two games against the Lakers. While four-time MVP LeBron James is always a threat and in a variety of ways on offense, in each case it was a Los Angeles reserves who did most of the damage against the Warriors. On Feb. 28 it was Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso who combined for 25 points, and Kuzma again with Talen Horton-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell posting 62 off the bench. The Lakers have struggled to stay healthy as of late though as James and Anthony Davis just returned to their lineup recently after missing extended periods of time, while starting guard Dennis Schröder remains out due to Health and Safety Protocols.
Portland Trail Blazers
Season Series: POR leads 2-1
Stephen Curry is averaging — yes, averaging — 41 points against the Trail Blazers this season. That includes his career-high 62-point night at Chase Center in their second matchup and dropping 35 in a down-to-the-wire game in Portland. But that last win required the assistance of Carmelo Anthony (13.4 points per game) to post 22 points off the bench to secure the Blazers’ victory. Oakland-born Damian Lillard has enjoyed playing his hometown team too, averaging 29.3 points across the three contests against the Warriors during the regular season.
San Antonio Spurs
Season Series: GSW leads 2-1
Defense has led the Warriors to winning two of their three games against the Spurs this season as the squad held the Spurs to 37 percent shooting in both victories. The Dubs also had seven players score in double figures in their last win over San Antonio on Feb. 9, including 36 off the bench from Kent Bazemore, Eric Paschall and Damion Lee.
Sunday is a big day, Dub Nation. Are you ready for what’s to come?
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